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Costumes, Corn, and Kane Street

Wow, one of my favorite covers of the year, and this particular one has been that way for the last three years — the tradition of the South Williamsport Mummers’ Parade in celebrating its 75th marching. As I have mentioned in the past, I grew up on the top of Kane Street on the South Side, and the Mummers’ Day Parade was one of my favorite events as a kid. I thank my parents for great childhood memories. My Dad enjoyed the trick side of Halloween and would always include us kids in his toilet papering adventures. He was proud to take me down to pick corn in Sylvan Dell. My friends always wondered how I accumulated a garbage can full of shelled corn; well, now you know. Mr. Webb was my driver, and yes, I’m sure he had the farmer’s permission.

Corning was the most common Halloween trick years ago, and it wasn’t a random act of targeting front porches. There may have been a certain house that kept our kickballs, Wiffle balls, tennis balls, any kind of ball that went into their yard. However, there is no truth to the rumor that they kept the Babe Ruth ball from the movie “The Sandlot.” This yard may have been right next to a school playground where every neighborhood kid would play and hang out. They were target number one every fall.

I don’t want you to think we were malicious when it came to our tricks. There were rules of corning — and we would never rain down the crop of harvest on anyone that had the porch light on for Halloween treats, was older, or that we knew would call our parents. Although I believe my Dad would have told them he would take care of it, hung up the phone, and then laughed. As long as I didn’t hear him yell the words “James Arthur!” I was always safe regarding any possible behavioral issue on my part. Dad was clear; there would be no waxing, soaping, or the burning pile of dog poo. I wonder how many of you are laughing thinking about your own tricks?

It is sort of ironic later in life, our Webb Weekly offices are located at the foot of Kane Street. You could say I have worked my way down this special section of blacktop during my life, although when I was a kid, the top of the street went all the way through to 8th Avenue and had yet to be paved.

Back in the day, it made for fantastic sled riding. If you had a couple of lookouts at Mountain and Central Avenues, you could make it all the way down to that previously mentioned neighborhood playground. I’ll save those stories for a winter publication.

I’ve gotten off the parade route like I often do, back to the 75th edition of the Mummers’ Parade. If you remember, 2020 was lost to COVID, and 2021 was canceled due to inclement weather. So, here is a little Webb Weekly trivia. The 75th Mummers’ Parade is the first event ever to be featured three times on our cover before actually taking place. We all have our fingers crossed the event gets off and marching with no mention of Dr. Fauci or the National Weather Service.

A special shout out to Dori Rankinen for her efforts, dedication, and stick-to-it-iveness to make sure this celebration of small-town Americana and the autumn season has continued. Get out and about this Saturday and take the whole family. This is the best way possible not only to support the Mummers’ Parade but all those making the march through the streets of Southside.

In honor of the 75th Mummers’ Parade, I am wearing my Spiderman mask from when I was a kid. It came as a complete costume kit from Hills Department Store. Thank you for that, Mom, and the popcorn, frozen coke, and miniature NFL helmets that came out of the quarter machine in the front of the store.

Moving right along to a spooktacular tradition that I could have entered when I wore that Spidey mask but not eligible for now, our Webb Weekly Annual Halloween Counting Contest. Editor Steph always comes up with a fun new topic for the kids to look for and count; this year, they will be gathering ghouls. Steph has all the details on page 4.

The kids always do a great job of counting for the contest, good luck to all that enter. Steph always keeps the official number a secret and won’t reveal it to me. I have yet to count spiders, ghosts, vampires, pumpkins, candy corn, or any other of her ghostly choices correctly. If you happen to bring your kid or kiddos in to enter the contest, there will be a big dish of candy for them to choose from; just see Jaimie at the front desk. My oldest employee, Bones, oversees the candy to make sure there are plenty of treats and, once in a while, a trick. For those of you lucky enough to win, I promise Bones will not sample anything out of your ghoulish bucket.

Let’s all be safe out there, and thank you to the person that sent me the Fetterman mask, complete with hoodie. I’m gonna stick with Spiderman, though.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb